There is exactly one reason why Katie Crowley should not be the coach of the year —- her team lost its final game. The same is true of every coach in the country but two: Brad Frost at Minnesota and Erin Hamlen at Merrimack.
To counter that one reason why not, there are at least 40 reasons why Crowley was the coach of the year. If we look deeper, I think we can come up with a few more.
Only one team has ever won as many as the 40 games that Boston College put into the victory column this season. Its 40-game winning streak was the second-longest in NCAA history.
The Eagles were the regular season champions of Hockey East for the third straight season. They backed that up with the conference playoff crown, only the program’s second.
BC was the only team in the country to win a conference title plus a game at the Frozen Four. That was the first time in its history BC advanced beyond the semifinals.
A measure of good coaching is a team that improves. Boston College had a great team in 2014-15. Under Crowley, the Eagles got better in 2015-16 in almost every category. Their scoring average increased from 5.00 to 5.20. Scoring margin increased from 3.79 to 3.95. The penalty kill went from being effective 90.5 percent of the time to doing its job at a rate of 91.6 percent. The power play was one of the few weaknesses for BC a year ago, as it only clicked 17.5 percent of a time, but that was a problem no longer this season. It turned in a stellar 29.4 percent conversion percentage.
As is always the case, there were many strong coaching performances this season. Under Greg Fargo, Colgate jumped from being outside of the ECAC playoff picture a year ago to hosting and advancing from a quarterfinal series this season. Mike Sisti rallied his team that was winless in its first six games to a pair of CHA titles and Mercyhurst’s 11th trip to the NCAA tournament. Jeff Kampersal brought Princeton to the national tournament for the first time in 10 years, and Dave Flint led Northeastern to its first NCAA trip ever. Cassie Turner did everything that could be asked of a first-year coach in earning Quinnipiac the program’s first championships in both the regular season and the playoffs.
As for Frost, he likely could have been recognized as coach of the year in any of the last five seasons. Over that time, his best coaching job may have been two years ago, the one year his team didn’t win the big trophy.
Crowley and the Eagles may have come up just short in their final game, but it doesn’t change the fact that they produced a truly historic season. Congratulations to Katie Crowley, USCHO’s coach of the year.